Ozarks Medical Center has been recognized by the March of Dimes for eliminating
elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 weeks
of gestational age. According to the March of Dimes, babies delivered
before full term are at increased risk of serious health problems at birth
and later in life than babies born at full term.
OMC's rate of early elective deliveries is at 0 percent, having had
no early elective deliveries or cesarean sections in more than two years.
Each year, the medical center delivers approximately 700 babies.
"We are proud of our nurses, leaders and physicians who have made
it a priority to eliminate early elective inductions or Caesarean deliveries,
except when medically necessary," said Tom Keller, OMC President
and CEO. "This is a reflection of our commitment to provide exceptional
care for mothers and babies in order to give them the best possible start
According to OB Nurse Manager Joanna Patillo, if a pregnancy is healthy,
it is best to wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver.
"The last few weeks of pregnancy are extremely important in a baby's
development. It's in these weeks of pregnancy that vital organs, like
the brain, lungs and liver, are still growing and developing," Patillo said.
A two-year partnership between the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and
the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) is achieving its goal of significantly
reducing early elective deliveries (EEDs) by the end of 2014. Of the 46
participating birthing hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate
of five percent or less and 61 percent have had no EEDs in the last six
months of reported data.
Additionally, of the 46 hospitals, 87 percent now have a "hard stop"
policy in place which establishes strict medical guidelines for when a
physician may schedule a delivery. Only 35 percent had a hard stop policy
in place before the MHA/March of Dimes collaboration began. The policy
prohibits doctors from scheduling a delivery – either by induction
or cesarean section – before the baby is at a confirmed 39 weeks
gestation. The policy applies to non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries only.
According to Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association,
"In the best interests of the health of mothers and infants, Missouri's
hospitals have been working to reduce early elective deliveries. This
is one of many quality improvements they are aggressively pursuing to
achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower costs."
The March of Dimes encourages women to remain pregnant for a full 39 to
40 weeks if their pregnancy is healthy.
- A baby's brain at 35 weeks weighs just two-thirds of what it will weigh
at 39 to 40 weeks.
- A baby's brain nearly doubles in size during the last six weeks of
- Babies born early have more learning and behavior problems in childhood
than babies born at 39 to 40 weeks.
- Babies born early are more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
For more information about OMC Women's Healthcare, call 417-256-9111